In a joint project between the Australian and NSW Governments, Transport Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) is planning the development of the M12 Motorway. The M12 will provide access to the future Western Sydney International (Nancy-Bird Walton) Airport at Badgerys Creek.


Balarinji was engaged within the Arcadis and HASSELL design team to embed Aboriginal heritage and culture within the Motorway’s identity. Through Balarinji’s cultural design principles methodology, a deep Aboriginal sense of place has informed the earliest stages of M12 design.


From research and collaboration with endorsed local Aboriginal stakeholders, Balarinji created an interpretation plan to activate the corridor’s Aboriginal narrative. The overarching theme of “Interconnectedness” depicts the central Aboriginal tenet of physical and spiritual belonging to Country. Art and interpretive elements that express the theme across the M12 will acknowledge local Aboriginal history and the Aboriginal community’s contemporary story.


Balarinji’s methodology included:

  • deep, authentic engagement with verified local stakeholders

  • thorough, peer-reviewed desktop research

  • workshop methodology to facilitate local Aboriginal stakeholders and creative professionals to articulate and interpret their own authentic Body of Story for a Body of Art for conceptual interpretation

  • translating the site’s core Aboriginal narrative for the M12 Design Team to integrate local Aboriginal cultural interpretation

  • commitment to offering opportunity and building capacity in the Aboriginal creative community, by fostering local art practice and by growing partnerships with established and emerging Aboriginal architects and designers.

Balarinji worked closely with local Aboriginal artists and Knowledge Holders to translate the cultural theme for art and design across the M12. The creation stories, song, dance, iconography and cultural practices that have informed the M12 cultural narrative, will greatly enrich built form, landscape design and interpretive user experience. The story of those who travelled the area long before us is a rich and authentic base for the project’s identity.

M12 cultural design principles
M12 cultural design principles
M12 cultural design principles
M12 cultural design principles
M12 cultural design principles

I Jasmine Seymour, Darug woman belonging to the Boorooberongal people of the Richmond area in Sydney have participated in the Balarinji M12 engagement Art workshop that was held with other Darug and Indigenous peoples. 

The workshop was a fantastic collaborative experience, my contribution and expertise were valued and used in a way that benefited the community and project. 

Working with the Balarinji team post workshop was also a great experience. I was notified at all stages of the process and have continuing contact with the team today. 

I wish Balarinji the best and look forward to the next time.


Jasmine Seymour, Traditional Custodian, Western Sydney, 2019

Balarinji has been working closely with me on a variety of Art projects over the past few years. In this time Balarinji has provided a responsible, integral, culturally appropriate approach when dealing with myself as an Aboriginal Artist.

Balarinji has also worked closely alongside my local Aboriginal community and has built a highly praised reputation for being responsible, reliable and ethically professional. 

I would highly recommend Balarinji without hesitation as a welcome addition to any further Aboriginal artistic community endeavours that they take part in.


Jamie Eastwood, Locally Connected Aboriginal Artist, Western Sydney, 2019